Kell recommends against Koeppen due to political conflicts
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville City Council decided not to appoint anyone to fill the mayoral vacancy that will be created when current Clintonville Mayor July Magee resigns on Jan. 1.
Instead, Council President Lois Bressette will serve as acting mayor until a new mayor is elected in April.
The council had three options to consider regarding the looming vacancy when it met Tuesday, Dec. 8.
One option was to appoint a current council member. This would have required the council member to give up the remainder of their current council term.
City Administrator Chuck Kell told the council no current council member expressed interested in giving up their seat to be appointed mayor until April.
Another option available to the council was to appoint a resident to the position of mayor until the April election.
Dick Koeppen, who is a former mayor for the city of Clintonville, expressed his interest in being appointed to the position, in a letter he sent to Bressette, Kell, and Clintonville City Attorney April Dunlavy.
In the letter, Koeppen stated, “Just in case you decide you want to keep the council intact until the election and have a tie breaking vote, I would certainly be honored to assist being the interim mayor if the council so desires. As I understand it, the present council organization can stay as is until the April election and that is a good thing. However, if the city council would desire a tie breaker vote, I would be willing to assist as interim mayor.”
He also stated in the letter that any mayoral stipend received during that time would be donated back to the Veterans Memorial expansion and the proposed dog park.
The final option was for the council not to appoint anyone to fill the vacancy, and let Bressette, council president, serve as acting mayor until the election.
During discussion, Kell informed the council if it appointed Koeppen to mayor, Koeppen would not seek election for mayor in April.
Kell said he had been asked by a couple members of the council what his recommendation was.
Kell told the council that he has worked well with Koeppen on several items, but it was his recommendation that the council not appoint Koeppen, and to allow Bressette to serve as acting mayor.
“Lois has done a good job of that over the last number of months,” Kell said. “She has learned a lot and she’s been doing a good job at it. She’s familiar with the city at this point, as Dick (Koeppen) is obviously.”
He added, “And I’m going to be real honest. One of my concerns with Mr. Koeppen serving as mayor is that there have been some pretty significant conflicts, at least in the transit area, which is the business he runs privately, and the chair (Mary-Beth Kuester) of this transit commission that serves on this council. I think we’re moving in the right direction there. I sense some moderation of some of the conflict I sensed earlier. But quite honestly I don’t want to bring that conflict any greater into city hall. I am a little bit concerned about it.”
Kell said he felt the city would run well if Bressette was acting mayor.
Alderman Steve Kettenhoven said he felt the position of mayor is elected by the entire community, and until there is an election in the community the city should continue has it has in the past when the mayor has been absent.
Alderman Brad Rokus told the council he’d recommend appointing Koeppen as mayor.
The council voted 8-2 to not appoint anyone to the mayor position and let the council president serve as acting mayor. Rokus and Alderwoman Julie Stumbris voted no.